General Reading / Book Thread for 2019

Reading the Madonna of Bolton. Really enjoying it, think it’s at least in part autobiographical.

Nearly finished the ‘book of the new sun’ series thank god. Gene Wolfe really likes to make his writing as confusing as humanly possible eh. Also suffers from an awful lot of stupid tropes

BotNS is amazing, but you have to put the work in.

Rereading Vineland and once more the Pynchon is emotionally empty thing rings false

Zoyd and Prairie got a clear genuine affection and rapport

I have too much on my shelf to clear this year - can you stop harping on about Vineland until I have some spare reading space?

Can’t make promises. It’s my reread where I’m obligated to be bowled over by the beauty of the prose and the atmosphere

Also it’s well funny

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@manches-brute I’ve started a reread of Vineland, partially inspired by your reread. Probably my favourite Pynchon so far. Think the denser novels are a bit beyond me. My wife picked up Against The Day from a charity shop for me and it’s bit daunting, so I’ve gone with this again instead for now.

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Have you read Against the Day before? I agree with my favourite literary YouTuber TheBookChemist that Pynchon’s reputation as a difficult writer isn’t entirely earned and that, outside of Gravity’s Rainbow, his daunting-looking doorsteps are way easier going than you may expect.

I’m really enjoying Vineland too, so far. I remember by this point having kind of waning interest first time round, but I’m absolutely loving it at the moment.

He’s great to re-read tbh, I’ve found (just Against the Day to go through a second time after Vineland, I think). Once you kind of know where you are with him / his novels, you can really start to enjoy what’s there.

I’m reading “The Crying of Lot 49” b/c it’s the smallest book I own and it had to fit in hand luggage…


I’ve not read it before, no. I found Mason & Dixon a bit hard going but I may have just not been in the right frame of mind for it. I don’t know if there’s some kind of sweet spot between not worrying too much about understanding what’s going on, but knowing enough to enjoy what is going on. Had some top set pieces and passages though.

Other part of what inspired my Vineland reread is easing myself back in to the Pynchon world before giving Against The Day a go.

Been reading lots of books a girl I follow on Instagram recommends. They’re all ever so slightly trashy but unique and I came to The Pisces and Bunnies through her and loved them. She’s been raving about The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart and how she’s reading it for the second time already this year.

Fuck me. That was a slog. Both too long and meandering and too quick when it came to tackling the times things actually happened, or inserting a new storyline or denouement by way of one throwaway line with no build up or follow up. Especially tackling the spiral of abuse within the story.

Waaaaay too try hard at being whimsical and given that so much of it was about flowers I never really found myself visualising a single flower.

If it was half the length I’d probably be less annoyed at wasting about two weeks waiting for it to get good.

Anyway the third Joseph Knox book is out now so come payday I’ll be lapping that up, not sure what to read in the meantime.